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Zoology

This category contains 22 posts

430 million-year-old fossil named in honor of Sir David Attenborough

How early mammals evolved night vision to avoid predators

Jawless fish brains more similar to ours than previously thought

Sex with the other species

Re-thinking ‘adaptive radiation,’ one of biology’s most important concepts

A lizard lineage which has evolved over the last 19 million years has helped scientists to re-think one of the most important concepts of modern biology. ‘Adaptive radiation’ is recognised as a pillar of evolutionary science. It describes the development of new biodiversity, and is triggered when a species encounters a new environment with plenty … Continue reading

Fossil of huge ‘walking’ bat discovered in New Zealand

16 million years ago, giant bats walked on four limbs. Fossilised remains of a new bat species, which lived 16 million years ago, walked on four limbs and was three times larger than today’s average bat, have been discovered in New Zealand. The fossils were found near Central Otago on South Island, in sediment left … Continue reading

Size matters in the battle to adapt to diverse environments, avoid extinction

By examining research on global patterns of amphibian diversification over hundreds of millions of years, researchers have discovered that ‘sexually dimorphic’ species — those in which males and females differ in size, for example — are at lower risk of extinction and better able to adapt to diverse environments. Their work suggests the ability of … Continue reading

Earliest-known mammal fossils reveal remarkable diversity

The fossils of two interrelated ancestral mammals, newly discovered in China, suggest that the wide-ranging ecological diversity of modern mammals had a precedent more than 160 million years ago. The fossils of two extinct shrew-sized animals that existed about 160 million years ago – one that lived in trees and one that burrowed underground – … Continue reading

A gene that shaped the evolution of Darwin’s finches

Researchers have identified a gene in Galápagos finches studied by English naturalist Charles Darwin that influences beak shape and that played a role in the birds’ evolution from a common ancestor. The study illustrates the genetic foundation of evolution, including how genes can flow from one species to another, and how different versions of a … Continue reading

Fossil ankles indicate Earth’s earliest primates lived in trees

Earth’s earliest primates have taken a step up in the world, now that researchers have gotten a good look at their ankles. A new study has found that Purgatorius, a small mammal that lived on a diet of fruit and insects, was a tree dweller. Paleontologists made the discovery by analyzing 65-million-year-old ankle bones collected … Continue reading

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